These wooden babushka dolls ar from Jannes and mine trip to the then Soviet Union in 1985 when we went on the Transsibirian Railway from Moscow to Irkutsk and then onto Tasjkent and Samarkand by plane and back to Moscow again. Not the only souvenir from that trip, even though the tourist shops that we were herded into were the only opportunity to buy something and made shopping difficult.
Like most people who go on a trip I buy souvenirs. They are of all kinds. Reminders of a trip to somewhere. Not always specifically typical for the country or region, but simply something that appealed to me at the time and often still does. Objects small enough to bring home in the suitcase without risk to damage them. Ceramics are tricky.
“A souvenir (from French, for a remembrance or memory), memento, keepsake, or token of remembrance is an object a person acquires for the memories the owner associates with it. The term souvenir brings to mind the mass-produced kitsch that is the main commodity of souvenir and gift shops in many tourist attractions around the world. But a souvenir can be any object that can be collected or purchased and transported home by the traveler. The object itself has no real significance other than the psychological connection the possessor has with the object as a symbol of past experience. Without the owner’s input, the object’s meaning is invisible and cannot be articulated.“
This seagull hangs in the ceiling of my livingroom and has done for many years. Bought it in Tel Aviv in 1991 when I was back after many years absence. It was a very nostalgic trip where I reconnected with old friends that I hadn’t seen for a long time. I stayed for five weeks. Upsetting, nostalgic, and good to be back at the same time as not so good for various reasons.
This handmade glass-decoration that hangs in my bedroom window was bought in Tel Aviv at the weekly arts and crafts market at Shuk HaCarmel, in 2006 when I last was there. Has the typical middle-eastern hand of Fatma in the center. (Pardon the poor quality of the photo). I doubt I will go back to Israel again. It is too many memories and the people I loved are almost all gone. Very few left from then. Both want to go back and don’t. It is complicated. Would like to visit Tedy’s grave again.
This wooden owl comes from Sicily (2008). Handcarved with a smaller owl inside it done from the same piece of wood. Love it. I loved Sicily. Went there as a brake from all my greek islands, to get a change. Sicily is beautiful and has very good food. Wouldn’t mind going back there. Stayed just outside Çefalu, an interesting old town. Very genuinely sicilian.
The above glass-objects all three come from Malta (1996). The only beautiful things I found at Malta. Mostly they had kitsch and really ugly stuff. But these glass objects I love. Bought them at the glass factory where they made them. I will never go back to Malta. Terrible food that tasted nothing and not a particularly interesting island. The beaches… well not very good. Yes, I went around the entire island (it is not that big).
This wooden bird (lives in my bedroom above the bed on a picture list) comes from Lanzarote. Might also come from Africa, but I bought it at Lanzarote (1998). What I loved about Lanzarote was the nature, the volcanos, the lava, the sterile nature… Had a good hotel with five pools where it was impossible to get a poolside sunchair during my entire stay as the Germans booked them from sunup and all day. I am never up at sunup if I don’t have to… Beaches were fine. Food was not all that fun (too adjusted for tourists). That I had a severe cold and was coughing all my stay didn’t make things better…
Then there are all the small objects from Greece, where I’ve been several times. Will show you those another day.